Holy Land Pilgrimage - April 20, 2020
Jerusalem | Bethlehem | Cana | Capernaum | Nazareth
Step into the sandals of the apostles as you stroll the streets of Old City Jerusalem and visit some of the holiest places in Christian history. Visit Nazareth and see the sacred places where our Blessed Mother carried Christ in her womb. Explore the shores of the Sea of Galilee where Christ lived, walked and preached the words of the Gospel.
Our pilgrimage begins today as we depart on our overnight flight to Israel. Meals and drinks served aloft.
Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, our immersion in ancient Israel where Christ walked begins as we are met by our local guide who will escort us throughout our stay in the Holy Land and make the scripture come alive as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Drive to our hotel in Jerusalem, our home for the next five nights.
We will take a morning drive to the top of the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of Jerusalem and visit two churches located on the mount: The Church of the Pater Noster where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray the “Our Father” and the Ascension Chapel, the site where Jesus ascended into Heaven. Descend the mount on the path Christ walked on the “Palm Sunday Road” to Dominus Flevit, where Christ wept over Jerusalem and her future destruction. Then enter into the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ had His agony and was betrayed. Keep watch with Christ and pray in the Church of All Nations at the Rock of Agony, the very rock where Christ prayed and sweated blood before He was to be crucified. In the afternoon, we drive to Ein Karem, one of the most beautiful sites in the New City of Jerusalem where St. John the Baptist was born. Pray at the Visitation Church where Mary proclaimed her service to God in her Magnificat prayer.
An exciting and full-packed day awaits us as we explore Jerusalem further. We enter the Old City of Jerusalem through St. Stephen’s Gate to visit the Church of St. Anne, where the Blessed Virgin Mary was born. Afterwards, is the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the paralytic man. We will continue to see Pilate’s Judgement Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, the Arch of Ecce Homo, where Pilate said, “Behold the man,” with Jesus standing before the crowds with His crown of thorns and His body torn after His scourging. Prayerfully, we will walk the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and have the opportunity to climb the steps up to Mt. Calvary to pray at the site of the Crucifixion. Venerate the site where Jesus’ body was anointed, the tomb where He was buried and rose from the dead, and the Chapel of St. Helena where she found the true cross. This afternoon, we travel to Mt. Zion, where Christ celebrated the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Together we will then journey to one of the most striking churches in Jerusalem –St. Peter in Gallicantu– that hosts a wide array of art styles. A golden rooster sits atop it recalling the place where Peter denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26). It was the palace of the high priest Caiaphas, where Jesus was brought to jail after His arrest and kept in the dungeon that sits underneath the Church. Lastly, we pray the Rosary together at the Church of the Dormition, the traditional site where Mary was assumed into heaven.
We begin this morning with MAss at one of the most joyous sites connected to the Holy Night Christ was born – the church located in the Shepherd’s Fields in Bethlehem, marking the spot where the shepherds heard the chorus of angels proclaiming Jesus’ birth. In the city of Bethlehem, meaning “House of Bread,” we visit the Nativity Church that sits above the traditional Grotto of Jesus’ Birth. Ponder the Manger, Grotto of St. Jerome and the Church of St. Catherine, the parish church for Bethlehem’s Catholics. We will visit the Milk Grotto Chapel, a place where many couples pray for the Virgin Mary’s intercession to conceive a child. Continue on to Bethlehem University where we will have an opportunity to mingle with the local Christian Palestinian students and faculty over lunch. Then after lunch we will have some free time for shopping before returning to Jerusalem.
This morning, we drive to Bethany to see the House of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and the Tomb of Lazarus where Jesus raised him from the dead. This is where Jesus declared to Martha that He is “the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). We return to Jerusalem with the balance of the day is free to explore the Old City on our own.
This morning we will celebrate an early morning Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After Mass, we will return to our hotel for breakfast. Then depart Jerusalem and drive to visit ancient Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western world. In 1250 B.C., Joshua encircled the city and at the blast of the priests’ trumpets, the walls came tumbling down (I Kings 16). Many times, Jesus passed through this city on his way to Jerusalem. The sycamore fig, the tree which Zacchaeus climbed in order to catch a glimpse of Jesus, still grows in this area. From the ruins of ancient Jericho, we will ascend the Mount of Temptation where Jesus fasted and prayed forty days to resist the devil. From there we travel to the River Jordan to renew our baptismal vows. The Bible tells us that the Children of Israel crossed the River Jordan opposite Jericho when they came into the Promised Land. The prophet Elijah divided its waters and crossed with Elisha on dry land. Naaman the Syrian dipped in the waters seven times and was cured of his leprosy. And Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan (Mark 1:9). Each year, pilgrims from far and wide come to the Place of Baptism to immerse themselves in these holy waters. We will make a short stop at the Dead Sea before continuing to Tiberias for check-in at our hotel, home for the next four nights, located on the Sea of Galilee.
This morning, we will enjoy a scenic boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and proceed to the Church of Peter’s Primacy (John 21:16). Here on the shore of Galilee, Jesus appeared to the Apostles after His Resurrection and confirmed Peter in the role as Vicar of Christ with the words, “Feed My sheep.” The rock emerging from the center of the church is the actual table at which they ate breakfast. We will proceed onto Capernaum which for three years was the center of Jesus’ public ministry. Here our Lord met His first disciples – Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew – and worked many miracles. He healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever, brought a child back to life, cured a leper, healed the centurion’s servant, cast out a demon from a young boy and healed all that were sick (Matt 8:16). We will celebrate Mass, visit the synagogue where Jesus taught, and then drive to Tabgha – the site where Jesus multiplied the Loaves and Fishes and fed over 5000 people (Luke 9:13). This afternoon, ascending the Golan Heights we’ll stop at the Banias Spring that rises from under a cave and is one of the sources of the Jordan River. It was here in Banias (ancient Caesarea Philippi) where Peter made his confession of faith in Jesus.
We drive to Cana in Galilee to pray where Jesus performed his first miracle, at the request of his mother, Mary, turning the water into wine. The Catholic Church points to this miracle as establishing the Sacrament of Marriage. If you wish, you may renew your wedding vows here as a lasting remembrance of this holy site. Afterwards, travel a short distance to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. Visit the Church of the Annunciation that holds the Cave of the Annunciation just behind the altar. This is the actual room where Gabriel appeared to Mary and “The Word was made flesh.” (John 1:14.). After Mass we will see St. Joseph’s Carpentry Shop, where the foster father of Jesus worked and Mary’s Well, where the Virgin Mary drew water with her son for their daily living. We will take our last excursion of the day to the summit of Mt. Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration and the culminating point of Christ’s public life. Christ revealed his divinity here to three of his apostles as he spoke with the prophets Moses and Elijah. It is also the second time and place where God told people from Heaven that Christ was his beloved Son to whom they should listen. (Matthew 17:5)
This morning we begin at the Mount of Beatitudes the site of the Sermon on the Mount. After Mass we will have a Holy Hour and then depart Tiberias and drive along the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea, capital of the ancient Roman Procurators of Judea where St. Peter preached, and St. Paul was imprisoned for two years. Visit the Roman Theater, Crusader’s Moat, and the Byzantine Churches. Then continue to Old Jaffa where we will have a farewell dinner and then transfer to the airport in Tel Aviv for our late evening return flight home.
Our time pondering the wonder and awe of the Holy Land comes to an end as we transfer to the airport for our return flights home.
- Daily Mass at holy sites
- Roundtrip economy airfare from Omaha to Tel Aviv on United Airlines
- 9 nights’ accommodations, including taxes and service charges
- Porterage of one piece of luggage at airports and hotels
- Knowledgeable, friendly, Catholic/Christian guides; whisper headsets; deluxe motor coach transportation to holy sites; all entrance fees listed on itinerary
- Breakfast and dinner (excluding drinks)
- Middle Eastern dinner at the Christmas Hotel on day 6